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A couple of months ago I got a small part-time job at my university to manage and maintain the IT infrastructure of a non-computer science group. Even though I have no experience as a 'system administrator' (if that is even the correct term in this situation) it's no big deal to meet their maintenance and adjustment demands. As I would really like to do things the right/good way (and get better at what I'm doing) I always thought there were better ways to do what I'm doing.

Now my question is: Do you have any tips regarding resources (books, websites, tutorials, ...) for newbie/wanna-be (Windows) system administrators? Any advice as to what techniques and tools might be appropriate to look into?

As these are very broad questions let me give you the three main subjects I think would benefit me the most to know more about:

  • Management of installed software on multiple Windows PCs and easy deployment of new software
  • Managing updates
  • Managing user accounts across multiple PCs

A little bit more information about my situation so you know in regard to what dimensions I ask these questions (and maybe allow you to give more specific advice):

  • 3 stationary Windows 7 PCs, 4 semi-stationary Windows 7 Laptops
  • 2 Windows 7 Laptops (connect very infrequently to the university network)
  • 5-Bay Synology NAS for backups (+another one for redundancy)

Thank you very much for any advice/links/help. I'm looking forward to reading your answers. (I hope these questions are appropriate here.)

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closed as not constructive by Sven, Dave M, gWaldo, SmallClanger, ceejayoz Jan 3 '13 at 19:36

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Just so you're aware of why this is getting close votes: It's not because we're a bunch of miserable cynics (We are, but that's not why we're closing your question); it's because it's too open ended a subject for this site, which is focussed on providing answers to specific technical questions. The FAQ covers what's acceptable in more detail. Good luck in your new job and I wish you many years of happy sysadminning before you become as bitter and jaded as the rest of us :) – SmallClanger Jan 3 '13 at 17:19
I'm sorry. You're right. I tried to narrow it down from the initial (very broad) question but I understand that even then it's not a question where a clear answer or explanation would be possible. – Traspler Jan 3 '13 at 20:17
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Similar questions have been asked before, fortunately for you you have a very simple set up.

Check out for starters. has some great software, and information.

To answer your three questions though,

  1. Set an admin account with the some password on all machines, and you can do group remote installs.
  2. Turn on auto update.
  3. Active Directory...

Its a very small enviroment, you shouldnt have much trouble.

  1. Disaster Recovery

What I would do is make certain you have a copy of every piece of software used, and document the product keys. Imaging might be beyond the scope of what you need, but be sure you have a Windows install disk, as well as the service packs, and familiarize yourself with the install process.

Make sure your users are backing up important documents to your NAS, CD, Thumb Drive, External Drive , floppy disk, punch card or whatever.

  1. Prevention

Put an antivirus and anti-spyware on all machine, Spybot S&D, AVG, MalwareBytes etc... But only have one antivirus installed, otherwise you will have a lot of problems.

Control administrator privilages, the only person who should have admin rights is you. Everone should be logging in as user or power user at most.

Turn on automatic updates and windows firewall.

  1. Repair

Learn how to use google in order to research a problem. 99.99% of the time, someone else has already had the same problem, fixed it, and documented the fix. Or if your trying to do somthing, there is a guide somewhere. In fact this question should of been googled, there is a lot of information out there.

Learn the tools, most of your problems will come from malware. Spybot, ComboFix, and CCleaner have been my go to tools for years. Beyond that, google the error codes.

Above all, USE GOOGLE.

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Look at all of the "RELATED" questions on the right of this question's page. Then look at the related questions associated with much of those questions too. That should provide you lots of information on without going elsewhere right away.

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I actually did that. I searched the page multiple times but could not really find a fitting topic. Of course, now that I look at it again I could find 2 topics very similar to this one. I'll keep looking.(Sorry, I thought was thorough enough, apparently I was not.) – Traspler Jan 3 '13 at 20:14

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